Autism is characterized by the unstructured and disorderly development of the neural process in the human brain. This disorder in human beings is characterized by the hindrance in the interaction with others and by communication disruption.
The hindrance is created because the disorder creates disturbance in the information processing by destroying the structure of the connection of the nerve cells. As the information processing connections cannot stream line the process of transferring of the information, the behavior and actions differ in comparison to a normal scenario.
Autism is a disorder that is developed genetically and is observed by parents when the child is 3 to 4 years old. This is usually taken into consideration when the child for example does not respond to repeated calling of his/her name etc. It can be diagnosed only through the behavior or the person suffering from autism.
The people suffering from this disorder reflect lack of response in the form of emotions and face difficulty in socially interacting with people. They also repeat what they say and have obsession with certain kind of things. The reasons that cause the disorder are mostly linked the factors that cause defect during child birth.
What Was “Autism” 250 Years Ago?
Autism as a term coined for a disorder in individuals is recent. However the disorder is not new and has been there in past times. During the 18th century, this type of syndrome was not given a name but it was found in some individuals. The society did not recognize the symptoms in a person as a disorder.
People though of this disorder as a kind of dementia. Among the first cases ever to be observed and documented is by a Frenchman. The man Jean Marc Gaspard Itard accounted a story of the boy who lived in a forest. Itard named the boy Victor. According to Itard’s story the boy had never been under a scenario in which he had to communicate with anyone. This was perhaps because Victor never used to speak anything and always remain under an obsession about something.
Victor would only communicate with people through the use of his hands and any kind of movement of a particular object would make Victor unhappy. Itard published his paper which was titled as “The wild boy of Averyon”. This paper reflected a major breakthrough. Even though Itard could not teach any kind of language to Victor some kind of emotions had started to develop in Victor for example, this happened when once Madame Guerin, the maid of Itard was crying, Victor stopped what he was doing and started to comfort her.
Another case reported which was similar to that of autistic behavior was by an English professor of medicine, John Haslam. This case was about a boy who had contracted a severe case of measles and had recovered. According to Haslam, the boy had then started to behave in a way as people suffering from Autism do. This case was reported by Haslam in his book called “Observation of Madness and Melancholy”.
Discovery in the Early 20th Century
This type of disorder in individuals was more studied upon in the 20th century and this was when the name for such type of behavior and impairment of social interaction (in this context) was coined as “Autism”. This term was first suggested by Eugen Bleuler in 1911. Eugen was a Swiss psychiatrist who had first coined the term Schizophrenia and then used this term to identify the adult version of the disorder i.e. schizophrenia. It was Eugen’s contribution that people change their perception and had transformed their perception of seeing it as a dementia.
Then in 1943, Leo Kanner enhanced the definition and differentiated the term from schizophrenia. This was because Kanner noticed a change of behavior patterns in people who were suffering from Autism to those who were patients of schizophrenia. This change was that patients of autisms showed patterns of repeatedly speaking out word, stereotyping, constant behavior to a certain situation etc. Kanner also reported that this was an early infantile behavior and this was associated to biological origins. After this, a lot of change in the behavior of parents who had autistic children was observed.